Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:47 AM

Iowa vs. Illinois Predictions, Odds

  • January 29, 2021
  • By Thom Cunningham

The Iowa Hawkeyes take on the Illinois Fighting Illini in a huge Big Ten game. Tip is set for 9 p.m. (ET) and will air on FS1 from the State Farm Center.



Iowa-Illinois Betting Odds

Line Movements

  • Spread: Illinois -1
  • Money-Line: Illinois -134 Iowa +110
  • Total: 165.5

Odds Subject to Change

Illinois enters as the slight favorite, given a -1-point spread at home. Illinois is 8-6-1 on the ATS this season, while Iowa has covered 10 of 15 games.

The point total is set at 165.5, which both schools tend to go OVER on with high-powered offenses. Iowa has gone OVER the point total in 10 of 15 games, while Illinois has gone OVER in nine of 15 games this season.

Betting Analysis –Iowa Hawkeyes

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 12-3
  • ATS: 10-5
  • SU - Home: 9-1
  • SU - Away: 3-2
  • O/U: 10-5

Luka Garza is the heartbeat of this team, a runaway favorite to win the Wooden Award. He is averaging a ridiculous 26.9 points per game to go along with 8.9 rebounds, which has actually gone down a bit. Joe Wieskamp and Jordan Bohannon complete the triple threat for Iowa, but they have playmakers all over.

Iowa doesn't average over 90 points a game with just three players. C.J. Fredrick, Keegan Murray and Jack Nunge all contribute as well. The issue for Iowa is the defense. Despite having the second-best offense in the nation, the Hawkeyes rank 258th in points allowed per game.

Iowa can typically win a track race to the finish line due to their offensive weapons. They rank first nationally in assists per game (20.9), they rank sixth nationally in field goals made per game (31.8), they rank 18th nationally in three-pointers made per game (10.1) and rank 13th nationally in free throws made per game (23.3).

Although the defense is rubbish, Iowa does average 41.8 rebounds per game (eighth nationally) and 4.6 blocks per game (36th nationally). They can play big ball, mainly because of Garza, but the length of this team is often overlooked due to a large amount of points allowed. This will be an interesting battle between Garza and Illinois' big man, as the defensive post and rebounding will be key for both teams.

Betting Analysis – Illinois Fighting Illini

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 10-5
  • ATS: 8-6-1
  • SU - Home: 7-2
  • SU - Away: 3-3
  • O/U: 9-6

Illinois will try to counter Luka Garza with their own big man, Wooden Award caliber as well, in Kofi Cockburn. Cockburn averages a double-double, and Illinois usually wins when he takes over the paint.

More times than not, Cockburn delivers when his team needs him to step up in the paint. Ayo Dosunmu can only do so much, but he and Cockburn are the catalysts for this Illinois team. Dosunmu averages over 20 points per game to go along with 6.3 boards and about five assists.

As important as Cockburn is to this game, Dosunmu's dominance must be on full display. Iowa has elite scorers scattered all over the court, so Dosunmu will have to quarterback Illinois to a minimum of 80 points.

Can they do that? Absolutely. Illinois averages over 80 points per game (ranks 13th nationally) to go along with a defense that ranks 86th in total efficiency. Andre Curbelo, Trent Frazier and Adam Miller will need to step up - particularly Curbelo who has seen four or fewer assists in three straight games.

Curbelo has seen a six-game stretch of five or more assists this season, so alleviating Dosunmu from having to handle the ball for almost 40 minutes will also be key for Illinois winning. That falls on Curbelo.

Inside the Stats – Iowa Hawkeyes

  • PS/G: 90.7 (2nd)
  • PA/G: 73.7 (260th)
  • Off Rtg: 123.2 (2nd)
  • Def Rtg: 100.2 (209th)

Inside the Stats – Illinois Fighting Illini

  • PS/G: 82.9 (18th)
  • PA/G: 68.9 (143rd)
  • Off Rtg: 114.2 (18th)
  • Def Rtg: 94.9 (88th)

Key Players to Watch

  • IOWA - Luka Garza (26.9 PPG, 8.9 RPG)
  • IOWA - Joe Wieskamp (14.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG)
  • ILL - Ayo Dosunmu (21.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4.9 APG)
  • ILL - Kofi Cockburn (17.4 PPG, 10.3 RPG)

Iowa-Illinois Predictions

This is a very difficult game to predict, but the point total going OVER is the only trend with smart odds to approach. Despite a high 165.5, its hard to ignore the combined 19-11 O/U for both schools. Also consider that each team has a top notch offense, while the Hawkeyes defense is suspect at best.

Iowa is long, but they give up a ton of points, as length may not matter when facing guys like Dosunmu and Cockburn. Play the smart odds here and consider the point total going OVER, although its high. Also consider Illinois at home, but if you do then live bet the Illini instead. There's reason to believe Illinois will see plus-value at some point, which is when you can jump on them.

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